-n- adjectival suffix in Latin

Victor y Rosario vjpaniego at worldonline.es
Tue Aug 3 21:53:15 UTC 1999

Re: where the -n- comes from (in adjectives such as Latin  _mater-nus_ etc)
a hint may be found in the opposition r/n. According to Francisco Rodriguez
Adrados and his Indoeuropean Linguistics,

1. A declension was born in PIE which used -r in nominative and -n- in the
rest of cases. Cf Hittite uttar/uddanas (*thing*), Old Iranian ahar/ahnas
(*day*) or Latin femur/feminis.

2. Adjectives were generally created from genitives. For example, in Hittite
*kurur* meant *hostility*. The phrase *anthusas kururas*, *man of
hostility*, formally genitive, was eventually interpreted as *hostile man*.

3. As the r/n declension was little productive, the genitive -nos was
recycled in Latin into an adjectival suffix.

Si non e4 vero, e4 ben trovato.

Victor J. Paniego
Siles, Spain

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